We’ve all heard about Lyme disease and the risks that come with it. But did you know that ticks can carry other illnesses, too?
While most ticks don’t carry diseases, it’s still important to be aware of symptoms. Many of the diseases ticks carry can cause flu-like symptoms. These include fever, headaches, nausea, vomiting and muscle aches. Symptoms can start right away or three weeks later. At times, a rash or sore might develop where the tick bit.
Ticks are found all over the country, so the illnesses do vary. The most common are:
- Babesiosis: This can cause a nonproductive cough, headache and discomfort. It’s usually seen in the Northeast or upper Midwest.
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever: This illness can cause fever, headache and muscle pains. A rash will usually develop later. It can be hard to diagnose early on, but can be fatal if not treated.
- Tularemia: This is spread by a tick or animal that was already bitten. It can cause a fever, vomiting and a large crater-like sore at the bite mark.
- Ehrlichiosis: More common in the Southwest, this illness is carried by animals. Symptoms include fever and swollen lymph nodes.
- Relapsing fever: Found in the West, this can cause a sudden fever, abdominal pain and a rapid heartbeat. A rash can also occur.
- Colorado tick fever: Side-effects can include fever, severe headaches and sensitivity to light. Like its name implies, this condition is found in the mountain region of the western United States.
Usually, removing the tick, washing the site of the bite and watching for signs of illness are all that is needed to prevent disease.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to a tick bite. This reaction may be mild, with a few annoying symptoms. In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) may occur.
If you are bit, check your symptoms to decide if you should see a doctor. Virtuwell is a helpful resource to get started. Available 24/7, it’s an online clinic that can help with everyday illnesses.
“People are usually bitten by ticks when they’re outdoors or traveling. This is when access to a clinic for diagnosis and treatment of a bite is limited,” says Gwen Verchota, a chief nurse practitioner with Virtuwell. “That makes virtuwell.com the ideal solution for people who need on-the-go care. It doesn’t interfere with activities and vacation plans or need a trip to a clinic. In about an hour, we can diagnose and treat tick bites and diseases.”
Check out these other helpful resources to stay safe this summer: